The Vermont Community Foundation family is made up of hundreds of generous individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. They may have chosen to work with us for different reasons, but what they all have in common is their love of Vermont and their love of giving. Here are some of their stories. We also invite you to watch a series of videos that provide a real sense of our history, our mission, and of the different people and organizations that work with us.
A Love of the Kingdom
Richard and Kathy White
When Richard White was a young lawyer just starting in Burlington, the judge he clerked for, Albert W. Coffrin, gave him some life-changing advice: to make a bigger impact faster, he should move to a smaller community. Following this advice, Richard and his wife Kathy landed in the Northeast Kingdom—and they could not have made a better decision. Read their story.
Deep Loss Leads to Giving
David Stapleton and Joyce Manchester
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 hit close to home for David Stapleton and Joyce Manchester—literally and figuratively. At the time, the two economists were living with their children just outside of Washington, D.C. Soon came devastating news: David and Joyce learned that close friends—a family traveling with their two young daughters—had been aboard the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. Read their story.
Giving Back is a Family Value
Josh and Kate Traeger
Growing up in Ohio, Josh Traeger learned about giving back—both with time and money—early on. His parents established a foundation with earnings from their family business, and Josh and his siblings sat in on discussions about charitable giving. As the children grew older, his parents entrusted each with increasing responsibility for deciding how and where to give. Read their story.
The Sport for a Lifetime
David and Eleanor Ignat
In 2014, David and Eleanor Ignat donated the Middlebury Indoor Tennis facility to the Addison Community Athletics Foundation (ACAF), a supporting organization at the Community Foundation that promotes access to, education about, and awareness of athletics and healthy behaviors in greater Addison County. Read their story.
A Different Path
When Ron Miller was in his twenties, his friends and family believed that he would follow a very clear-cut path through life. As the oldest son, he was expected to join his family’s successful business. Ron worked during his youth for the company and for a while, thought that was exactly what he would do. Yet, as he progressed through his academic studies in history and philosophy, a new world emerged before him—a world in which Ron saw himself working for social justice as an educator instead of joining the family business. Ron remembers “I realized that pursuing a business career would not honor who I was.” Read his story.
A Love of Learning
Karl and Peg Pfister
Karl T. Pfister still remembers what his dad used to say when people asked him if he was from Vermont: “No, but I will die here.” Karl III passed away in early 2011, after living in his beloved state for 40 years. He and his wife Peg, who predeceased him, bought a farm in Landgrove in 1958 and spent a lot of time there before making it their home in 1971. Their children Karl, Meg, and Karen are pictured above. Read their story.
A St. Johnsbury Gem
Despite what people might think, you don’t need to have a fortune to be a philanthropist. Warm-hearted Vermont native Marilyn Moulton is a shining example of that. Marilyn left home in 1949 to attend Bentley College, now Bentley University, in Massachusetts, where she graduated with a degree in accounting and finance. Read her
Tom & Ina Johnson
“If you’d have told me when I was in college that I’d be getting up in the morning for conferences on green chemistry or early childhood brain development, I’d have laughed,” says fundholder Tom Johnson. “I’ve learned so much, it’s like going to grad school all over again. It really keeps your brain jumping. For me, that’s one of the great joys of giving.” Read their
Elizabeth ‘Betz’ Haartz and Walter Davis
Vermont is the kind of place that gets in your bones, inspires you, nurtures you. The sense of community here is very real and yes, it’s special. It’s the kind of place where Elizabeth ‘Betz’ Haartz and Walter Davis knew they wanted to be. Read their story.
Bob and Mary Belenky
When Bob Belenky and his friends were 10-year-olds, their goal in life was “to help make this a better world.” Their socially-conscious Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City was certainly an influence, as were Bob’s parents. Hardworking shopkeepers with Russian-Jewish roots, they were interested in social development and enrolled Bob in progressive education schools throughout his childhood. Bob is pictured above with Susan Green, the librarian at the Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield. Read their story.
The Bryan Family
Artists Alden and Mary Bryan came to Jeffersonville, Vermont for the first time in the late 1930s with a group of artists from the Cape Ann area in Massachusetts. Inspired by the landscape, these artists often visited in the fall, winter, and spring to paint. Read their story.
A Legacy Preserved
People remember Courtney Fisher as creative and intelligent. Some of his greatest passions,
both professionally and personally, were architectural design and historic preservation, so it is
no accident that his legacy lives on through the wonderfully restored North Hero Community Hall
in Grand Isle County. Read his story.
Libraries: The Lifeblood of the Community
Dr. Burnett Rawson
Sometimes life events alter our hopes and dreams—such is the story of Dr. Burnett Rawson, a native of Underhill, Vermont. He and his wife lost their daughter in 1992. To honor her love of learning, they made a generous donation that became the lead gift for the Deborah Rawson Memorial Library in Jericho. Read his story.
Born and raised in Vermont, fundholder Dave Stiller grew up with the belief that business and social responsibility don’t have to be at odds... Read his story.
Bill Post loves what he does. And he’s been doing it for almost 40 years. Interestingly, his path to becoming an attorney at Gravel & Shea in Burlington was one of happenstance. Read his story.
The Kingdom Supporting the Kingdom
The Northeast Kingdom Fund
“We have been very impressed by the Kingdom’s nonprofit organizations supported through my
family’s small foundation. They clearly understand the region’s special challenges and help
maintain the fabric of our community. We were excited about contributing to the Northeast Kingdom
Fund, which will allow the region to take a quantum leap forward in its own unique way.” —
Karen Bufka | Read about the fund.
Remembering Senator Gannett
A VCF Founding Director
“Bob Gannett was one of the Community Foundation's bold, visionary founders whose integrity, common sense, and
good will showed us the way.” — David G. Rahr, founding president of the Vermont
Community Foundation | Read David Rahr's blog post honoring Senator Gannett.
Stowe Rescue Squad
The Stowe Rescue Squad was formed in 1975 to serve Stowe and its surrounding communities and
has consistently been recognized as one of the leading volunteer-based ambulance services in the
state. Read their story.
In Tune With Their Giving
Pat and Ray Harwick
You’re never too old to learn something new. At least that’s what the Harwicks will tell you.
Well into her forties, Pat decided to pursue a childhood dream of playing the harp. Years later
at a street festival, Ray was captivated by the sight and sounds of a hammered dulcimer.
Following in his wife’s footsteps, he learned to play the instrument at the age of 72. Read their
An Old Soul
Jamie Kanzler Memorial Fund
Jamie possessed a deep perception of the needs of others, the gift to nurture curiosity, and he had the ability to make others feel better intentionally and through osmosis.
Read his story.